Don’t overlook Coinbase Vaults as a reasonable security solution

I get it: you’ve spent years learning the ins and out of the perfect hardware wallet, you easily exchange coins every day or week, you deeply believe in the beauty and power of decentralized transfers and the anonymity it can bring. Great.

But maybe you’re just wanting to stack some sats as part of your long term retirement plan and you have no interest in maintaining a wallet… or you know your own limitations and the likelihood of somehow losing access to it is very high for you. Or maybe your parents start asking about Bitcoin and you realize there’s no way they are going to be able to handle the details of a wallet responsibly. So you need a secure option that just works, without a lot of hassle.

Check out Coinbase‘s Vaults for one decent option. If you are just wanted to sit on the coin long term, and don’t plan using them or transferring them on a regular basis, the Vault option is pretty nice as a security mechanism:

– Instant transfer from your main Coinbase wallet to the vault.

– Requests to transfer coin out of a vault require at least two independent approvals along with waiting out a 24 hour timer before the coin is actually moved.

– Separate vaults per coin, and you can have multiple vaults.

– Transfers are from the main web app only, not the mobile app, so losing your phone won’t endanger the coin in your vault if someone steals or finds your phone.

The idea is to deliberately slow down transfers and require multiple approvals to prevent quick coin theft. This means stealing the coin is much more difficult. They would have to simultaneously steal and control access to multiple email accounts, and ensure the request to transfer was hidden from you for a full 24 hours. The typical “steal your login and quickly move the coin” won’t work here. If you are helping a relative, you can make your own email the second approver as a multi-party setup so that you are made aware of an attempt to hack their coin stash and stop it before the 24 hour clock expires.

Combine this with 2-factor authentication on your login and you’ve got a pretty reasonable security model for anyone wanting to just acquire and hold coin with no plans to do a lot of moving them around very often.

If you know your own limits and that a hardware wallet isn’t going to work for you — take a look at Vaults. It gives you a significant boost in security of your coin, backed by an insured and publicly traded company that isn’t going to disappear overnight on you. It’s a reasonable solution to a complex problem.

More on the Vault feature from Coinbase‘s online help:


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  1. Fuck that shit.

    Instead, remember: “Not your keys, not your Bitcoins.”

    Don’t trust somebody else with my money when there is no need, no good reason for it.

  2. Nothing is black and white so maybe there’s room for both?

    While I’ve seen many custodial incidents of coins lost due to exchange hacks or exit scams, I’ve also seen many self-custody coins lost due to ignorance, negligence, honest mistakes, forgetfulness etc.

    While “not your keys, not your coins” is true, the same applies to money you have at the bank. Depositing money into your bank literally gives them approval to loan that money out to others. Many of us also say “it’s still early”, but guess what that means? It means that the technology, user experience, documentation, etc. for your wallet of choice may not be intuitive enough for someone that isn’t tech savvy or perhaps is young… or old… or something else… Ease of use and high fees is a definite roadblock to mass adoption and custodial solutions help in this arena.

    I personally think either choice is fine based on your knowledge of the history of both and your risk tolerance. I personally do both and of the custodial solutions, I do like Coinbase Vault’s slower verification process as well as the fact that they have a decent track record and fully insure all Bitcoin in their hot wallet. I don’t like their support however, but hopefully that will improve with time.



What do you think?

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